Both are designed to cover the most intact parts of the remaining historic hatting districts of Luton, each with their own architecture and character that are linked together by the hat trade of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Trail 1 — the Bute Street area — is about a half-mile walk lying south of the railway. It houses a concentration of hat factories and workshops, which were often large and sometimes of considerable architectural distinction. This trail lies within the Plaiters’ Lea conservation area.
Trail 2 — the High Town / Old Bedford Road area — lies north of the railway and is roughly a mile long. It covers a more dispersed area and includes the domestic side of the industry (modest scale workshops attached to houses). Part of this trail includes an older part of Luton, the High Town Road conservation area.
Both trails start and end at The Hat Factory in Bute Street, by the railway station, where refreshments are available. There are also several pubs and restaurants along the way. Most of the premises highlighted are not normally open to the public, however some provide opportunities for visits. This may be possible by contacting the owners directly.